Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery refused to “waste his energy” worrying about his job after the 3-1 first-leg last-16 defeat to Real Madrid when questioned on Friday.
One of the sub plots of the “clash of the round” was which manager, Emery or Madrid handler Zinedine Zidane, would lose his job if his side lost.
But Emery, whose team led Barcelona 4-0 after the first-leg in the last-16 last season only to throw their chance away by losing the away match 6-1, was always under more pressure than Zidane who has led his side to back-to-back European titles.
“My future is the present. Getting ready for tomorrow’s game and getting ready for Real. I won’t waste my energy (talking about my future),” Emery said on the eve of Paris’s home game with Strasbourg.
“I remain convinced that PSG can qualify,” he said in the wake of Wednesday’s disappointing first-leg result.
“I believe the team had a good game against the best team in the world. I am convinced we can win and get through to the next round,” he insisted.
“I am happy with the way the players responded to what happened even if that was not the result we were looking for,” he said.
PSG took a first-half lead before a controversial penalty converted by Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the score before half-time.
Emery took off an isolated Edinson Cavani in the second half and while Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could not turn PSG’s edge in possession into goals, Ronaldo and Marcello seized their chances and fired Madrid into a highly protectable lead for the return on March 6.
Taking off Cavani “was a tactical choice I made during the game,” Emery said.
“For me (Neymar) had a great game, made some very good moves. It comes down to details,” he lamented.
“At home he will show how good he is,” promised the man who’s job depends on it.